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Narrowing down Giants’ starter decision with Drew Smyly on verge of return



Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Smyly’s return is imminent, which means so is a Giants’ decision.

The left-hander who has been out since Aug. 1 with a strained finger could be activated Wednesday or Thursday, Gabe Kapler said Monday, not hinting at whether that would entail a start or bullpen effort.

The Giants, who are starting Kevin Gausman against the Diamondbacks on the Labor Day series finale at Oracle Park, have not announced a rotation for their two-game set with the Mariners that begins Tuesday. If they stay on schedule, Logan Webb would go Tuesday, leaving Tyler Anderson (Wednesday) or Trevor Cahill (Thursday) as potential piggyback partners with Smyly.

Smyly, who was excellent in the early going, threw about 50 pitches Saturday in a sim game and should be ready to pitch three or four innings as the Giants build him up in the big leagues. Anderson has been the worst among the five of late, though he has faced Arizona in his last three games.

“I actually think Tyler’s struggles his last time out had nothing to do with his stuff, anything to do with his ability to repeat his delivery,” Kapler said before the Giants went for a third straight win. “I think his struggles were a direct result of him trying to change his game plan.”

Kapler thought Anderson adjusted too much against a team that had grown accustomed to him. Cahill, meanwhile, has been sharp apart from 2 2/3-inning effort Saturday, one game removed from exiting early with a hip injury. Kapler said they will have to keep monitoring his hip, and it’s possible they see his sharing innings with Smyly as a way to keep him healthy.

While the Giants left the odd starter out unanswered, they do appear to have made a decision with Jeff Samardzija. Kapler indicated the Giants will ask the 35-year-old to throw another sim game with batters, essentially putting off a decision as he builds up.

“I think we’re just kind of taking it day by day on that one,” Kapler said over Zoom of a pitcher who had diminished velocity before a right shoulder impingement. He was throw 89-90 mph Saturday but did not throw his splitter.